The golden years may indeed be a time for rest and reflection, but for many seniors this also is a time of uncertainty about one’s health and wellbeing. As in so many other aspects of our daily lives, however, technology has arisen to address some of the most common senior health concerns.
One of the foremost health risks for seniors is the common fall, an event that may trigger hospitalization and any number of other negative health consequences. Dementia is also a significant concern as that challenges senior residences to maintain a high level of vigilance in their resident care. Seniors can suffer from isolation that can lead to debilitating depression as well.
In each of these cases, new technologies often can prevent a negative event or help to mitigate outcomes for better resident comfort and care.
While falls account for a disproportionate number of senior medical events, those who operate senior residences will find an ally in today’s advanced technologies. Smart sensors can track senior mobility, building a picture over time of what constitutes an individual’s normal pattern of movement. Artificial Intelligence software can then “learn” to identify risk patterns, sending a warning notice to caregivers if an individual appears to be in imminent danger of a fall. Such preventive tools may be a game changer for those charged with maintaining senior wellness.
Dementia is a pervasive condition that requires a degree of constant monitoring in order to determine a senior’s condition and activities. A sophisticated communications portal, deployed across a senior housing operation, can help staff to maintain vigilance without ramping up ceaseless overtime hours or stretching personnel too thin on the ground. When a communication system allows a central caretaker to remain in constant contact with staff members located throughout the property, keeping a watchful eye on those in need of extra attention becomes a far simpler affair.
That same communications system can help to keep seniors in touch with their loved ones. These friends and family members are more likely to notice a change in condition if they are easily able to remain in close contact via video chat, social media and other means. By facilitating these interactions, a communications portal can effectively enlist these outside supporters as an extra set of eyes and ears, while at the same time helping to offset the loneliness and isolation that are a common cause of depression among seniors.
Falls, dementia, loneliness…these are some of the major health risks for seniors today. But there also are a host of threats that, while less visible, are no less serious. For these, too, technology steps up to the plate – often in the form of mobile apps.
For seniors whose blood pressure runs high, for example, simple apps make it possible to track and analyze patterns that could be cause for alarm. Cardiac patients likewise can use their phones to take an on-the-spot heart rate reading. Those who take a range of pills, staggered throughout the day, can find help in apps that organize prescriptions and sound alarms and alerts at appropriate moments throughout the day.
It may be true that seniors are beset by a range of health risks. But in this age of technology, it is equally true that smart sensors, communications portals and mobiles apps all can play a part in helping to ensure safety and wellness, driving better outcomes for seniors and smoother operations for those who manage senior housing communities.